Ingram's Seismic Adventure Hits The Road


Ingram Micro's Seismic managed services portfolio has attracted more than 400 customers to date, more than 100 of them gathered in Dallas this week for the distributor's first Seismic Partner Conference.

The fact that Ingram was able to attract so many partners is evidence the program is succeeding, said Justin Crotty of services at Ingram Micro North America.

"We're well past plan in terms of reseller recruitment. We're doing very well. As our portfolio expands, the ability to attract new partners extends," Crotty said. "We're pleased with the success we've had. From a partnership acquisition perspective, we're adding more than anyone else in the business."

The two-day event includes a lot of sessions led by managed service providers, which gives attendees the chance to learn from each other, Crotty said. The networking opportunities have become an Ingram Micro trademark and it's something Crotty learned through years of working the distributor's VentureTech Network conferences.

"What's very impressive to me is you don't feel like you're at a sales pitch," said Chris Andreozzi, founder and president at KnowledgeCentrix, a Brea, Calif-based MSP. "They gave me the ability to talk about how I succeeded. This is really a successful VAR-led program."

KnowledgeCentrix was one of the first partners to use the Seismic platform. It's launch in October 2006 coincided with the MSP's own learning curve, Andreozzi said.

Initially, KnowledgeCentrix tried to build its own managed services infrastructure, including its own NOC and help desk. But after a couple of years, that model became unmanageable," Andreozzi said.

The MSP looked at a number of different platforms, but it knew it wanted to rent the license, not own one. Enter Ingram and Level Platforms, which helped launch the Seismic program.

"Had Ingram not been in the business, we probably would have gone a different direction [than LPI]. We've never owned an LPI license, we've only used the hosted model," he said. "So far things have been good. Being an early customer, there' are bumps, but Ingram has been there every step of the way. I've never felt we've made mistakes the way we sold a customer."

In particular, KnowledgeCentrix uses Seismic's help desk, desktop support, and server and network management services, Andreozzi said.
"We have a total managed services offering for customers, with 10 to 150 employees. We are the IT department for all intents and purposes," he said.

That's exactly what Crotty hopes all Ingram Micro's Seismic partners can become -- with the distributor serving as the backbone. Currently, many Seismic users also incorporate legacy third-party or proprietary MSP platforms and applications into their offerings.

"The bigger our portfolio gets, the more Seismic partners will start to condense on the Seismic platform. We're hoping non-participating vendors will be replaced by the Seismic platform," Crotty said.

Within the last couple of weeks, Ingram Micro created new bundling and pricing that MSPs can market towards single-site locations and more significant enhancements will come in the first quarter of 2008, Crotty said.

"Biggest message here is this is the first services-only event that Ingram has done. It's all about helping these guys, how to build their business model, reduce costs and how to position Ingram's Seismic strategy as their go-to-market strategy," Crotty said.

He wouldn't elaborate on growth plans for the number of Seismic users, but he expects the number of partners to increase.

"It kind of feels like [VentureTech Network] in the 2000-20001 days in terms of size. In the services business, managed services, the mass adoption point will be over the next 12 months. We're well positioned for that," he said.